The origin of teaching as a school for social formation
is placed in the eastern countries with masters such as Confucius and Lao
Tse, 400 bc. From them we have inherited the art of teaching and many essencial
values to create an harmonious and peaceful society, all of these we can
find in their doctrines.
Lao-Tse picked it up in his book "Tao Te King" with his
theory about yin and yang. “The body is divided in yin and yang parts.
The balance between the different parts is maintained by a constant flux
of vital energy or ch’i through a meridians system containing the points
used in acupuncture. The interrelation of yin and yang, the primordial
pair of opposites, appears thereby, as a principle that guides every tao
movement, though we can still refer to it as the leading principle that
balances both opposites”.
Confucius keeps his thoughts and performances in a posthumous
book compiled by his disciples, the Lun yü. In this work we find quotes
as those regarding to "the value of example", "the practice of right"...
and many others we would introduce along this article.
Even though their doctrines, taoism and confucianism,
lost their political power long ago, the foundation still remains in many
oriental origin schools, mainly martial arts schools.
Kenpo is one of them, and I would love to talk about the
influence of it in the general development of children, mainly psychomotive,
and approach the subject from the many characteristics that make this martial
art a fantastic school to the balance between mind and body, as well as
their development together, if it is imparted from childhood.
The development of physical capabilities from childhood
is of real importance mainly for health, but also as foundation for a good
mental development. As Saint Augustine would say "Mens sana in córpore
sano". Mind and body are reciprocally influenced, so the key would
be in looking for a balance between them.
In kenpo this is one of the goals to reach, the control
of mind over body. It is also one of the aims every educator should outline
for his/her pupils, specially if they have any kind of discapability, disfunction
We can part from the basis that any of these children
with s.e.n. (special educative needs) need exploit to the maximum their
posibilities to adapt as much as posible to a world created for and by
There's a multitude of extracurricular activities that
refer to the development of physical capabilities to every kind of people,
but half of them are limited to working certain ranges of children capabilities,
or doesn't count the motivation aspect, and thus leave aside prioritary
objectives; from one side, without motivation is difficult to reach high,
and from another side, if the child is foiled by not achieving what its
requested of him/her, usual thing having into account that the activity
is directed to only one goal, that will probably be centered in the difficulties
of the child.
If we analyze the quantity of possibilities kenpo has
as foundation for kids with light s.e.n.'s capabilities, we would realize
that it is a magnificent methodologic proposition to carry out.
We could begin with the fact that in this martial art
the psychomotive development is made both in the right bain hemisphere
and the left. This aspect is in fact very important in the development
of any individual, and given the fact that western teaching leaves it aside
we can highlight it as a very positive fact. In kids with s.e.n., depending
on the magnitude of their needs, work with both brain hemispheres is much
more difficult, which is why it needs to be worked restlessly. I.e. in
dyslexic kids it will be the solution to their difficulties, and taking
into account that this is a very common and hereditary problem, it'll be
very interesting to work on eradicating it.
It also helps in the mental schemes formation, as in
other two prominent facets: coordination and balance, where childre with
Down Syndrome have many difficulties by the fact that their biological
age don't correspond with their mental age, so they don't control their
Kenpo doctrine will be perfect in the other side to teach
concepts such as discipline, respect and order, in a serious but relaxed
environment. Respets is imposed by the master or instructor with his/her
degree and position in the class, and it's showed to all the students equally,
this way this feeling is shared, specially because it doesn't create unfair
differences and the ones the degree/belt creates are assumed as needed,
for everyone has achieved theirs with hard work and dedication, which is
where order and discipline are born from respect.
Mixed classes, bith in the coeducation meaning and in
the age and degree one, help very much in the creation of positive perspectives
everychild needs, and what is even more important, the motivation.
In the same way we have to highlight the favorable factors
that are outlined as it is a prospective education; changing belt as certain
objectives are achieved, provoke that feeling of goal that gives strenght
to pass the next step with even more enthusiasm, and creates in the kids
an intrinsical motivation very positive.
Here is where acceptance comes into place, either as
self acceptance or the acceptance of others in the group, as well as integration,
socialization and selfconcept. They're essential factors in the formation
of a child and have a great repercussion in his/her future if they're not
correctly treated. They're also the base upon which the kid accepts his/her
targets as reachable and in the case of s.e.n., given that their difficulties
are far greater, they acquire double strenght and influence in their continued
fight and not to surrender after a failure.
As Maslow exposes, in his pyramid about the order in which
the needs of an individual have to be covered, personal security occupies
the second place, before there will only be physiological needs, therefore
its great importance. In cases such as pshycological problems causes by
abuses and maltreatment, can be considered the key in development; security,
self-confidence and will be fully covered with this activity.
Into this school, the figure of a master acquires a strong
influence over students, so it is very important the criteria used to teach,
as s/he has in her/his hands the possibility of creating values in the
kids. It's a matter of making them understand the importance of life and
from there on, to focus the teachings towards right (Confucius). It's not
a matter of pupils learning to puke eyes or breaking necks, it's a matter
of understanding the magnitude of their doing thus creating a feeling of
responsibility and stimulating self control the same way, i.e., it's interesting
in children with Down Syndrome.
To the kids this activity would be a game, they watch
it in the media and that motivates them more and so, the learning evolves
with greater fluidity. Self-concept intervenes again as a factor, they
create an unreachable idol from telly, and by leaving aside comparing themselves
with other fellows, they forget the shame and the desire to participate
grows. In the other side they learn how to lose and be in the side of the
mate, which made their egocentrism lessen. Confucius says “Don't do
others what you don't want others to do to you”.
In this sport individual and team work are both used,
which is why individualization and globalization, two essential characteristics
for a good teaching are also present.
By having so many of the goals proposed by multitude of
psychopedagogues as base for a good education, kenpo will be considered
as a very complete activity in which not every children with s.e.n. will
have the possibility to reach all of the goals, or at least not in the
This will surely be sufficient reason for many people
to consider kenpo as an activity out of reach for them.
With my humble experience, I'd say to this people to look
further; firstly, because that is the reason these children are excluded
from most part of artistic activities. Secondly, because the real objective
we want to reach isn't these children being masters (which could perfectly
happen given these children's great fighting capabilities and dedication
for what they like), but them using kenpo as a tool to a better development
of their capabilities. Thirdly, and given the ample and many favorable
aspects for that development, even though some facets will get more developed
than others, this already is a big step in their long and winding road.
Fourthly and lastly, we forget again, as it happens too often, the fact
that in the environment of a special education are also included cases
of abuse problems, cruelty..., that is, that there will be children able
to reach all the objectives proposed in the activity in question. Into
this subject we'll have to exclude certain cases, hyperactive kids as it
will be very detrimental in their problem and not the contrary, as well
as kids with no mobility in their extremities or a extreme deficiency,
I would like to include a quote by Lao Tse that goes;
“In the chinese vision it is better to have a little
than to have too much, and better to leave things undone than do too much,
for, even though you don't reach too far this way, it is sure you'll be
going in the right direction”.
Tao Te King; Lao-Tse. Colec/Grandes autores. Ed/Libros
Psicología General; Gabriela Grzib y Cristian
Briales. Ed7, Centro de estudios Ramón Areces, S.A.
Crecer y pensar; Luis Delval.